jjoyce wrote:Hello Foron:
Does the sight of Forum, in its present form and format, propel you back into your work, a polar opposite effect of what used to happen, when an entire Friday afternoon would fly by with amusing diversions right here on these boards?
When was the last time that happened, huh?
I kid myself thinking that Facebook and Twitter have taken over, but the truth is that the hard core community members here haven't really migrated to those places in a big way. Am I wrong about that? Please let me know if I am.
As we approach the tenth anniversary of TDPF, is it time for a facelift? Should we abandon this software in favor of a more Gawker-style, blog-initiated discussion community? Do some of you want the ability to create and sustain your own blogs?
What do you want to talk about? How do you want this place to function? What's TDP missing? How would this site -- not just Forum, but the whole thing -- look different if you ran the zoo?
Maybe it's the fact that I'm on the eve of my 41st birthday, but I look at some of what's going on here and I'm pretty unimpressed, to be honest. I find discussion of local talk radio to be irrelevant and stupid. As many of you who complain about the vapidity of other sections of the site, you refuse to engage with the in depth content we have for the local elections and food and arts criticism. What's the problem?
I believe it's past the time for TDP to turn the corner on traffic and quality.
Ahoy. 41st Bday? Are you indeed a former Vikings quarterback? JK, happy birthday.
1. A "pay to play" general politics thread somewhere in the middle of National Politics and Ellections 2011 - by "pay to play" I mean in this area, no assertion could/should be let stand without an included qoute/citatation from credible data/statistics from more impartial sources. This would be a good spot for all the legal/constitutional contests that Vilas and Arturo are always hinting at, and for me it would be a nice place to put current events into historical context. I would say JJoyce, if you want to elevate the debate, a "pay to play" thread with active moderation could be a great thing (and eliminate a lot of flaming).
2. This one seems obvious: embedded video
3. How about some evenly distributed censure in terms of conduct? I can think of three or four lefty forum gods/goddesses who have frequently seriously crossed the line and yet they remain while those on the right get sick of a dog fight where the rules are not equally applied. Personal attacks kill enthusiasm as well as rationality. I would guess this part of your job is not fun but it could be done a little differntly, speaking in terms of the website; for instance the offending member could be presented with a warning screen upon login, something to the effect of "three strikes per six weeks" and when a violation occurs the person sees the status message when they log in and for instance when they get down to the last strike they would know they had to be constructive or, who knows, be suspended for a month or something.
4. Actually for the first time I've noticed, Facebook really has been a frequent outlet for political conversation. Usually people try to keep politics out of social networks but the big upheaval recently at least in Wisconsin pretty much got everybody I know involved in posting news articles etc. Facebook, though, is not a good place to get into a back and fourth political discussion because it is not organized well enough to be a cohesive, active debate.
5. Probly a hundred people have said so already but it would be nice to have avatars connected to your username. TDPF can be a little
more visual without being frivolous.
6. I would not change too much about the basic structure of the forum. I have lived a few places since the first time I found it and I have just never been satisfied by what the other towns have to offer. I don't know what it is or why (because every city has a free lefty magazine with a website) but TDPF > other political forums. The balance is better here than it is in national forums with huge budgets.
7. If you want to do something really engaging, why not solicit some of the political folks the editorial department is always contacting anyway and get a little involvement in on the forum? In the same mode as the "pay to play" thread I outlined above, you could have a 'Guest Foron' thread that was advertized in the magazine and if you want to get more of Isthmus readers on the forum I bet the would check it out if they knew some of these pols in the magazine might be checking in once in a while, like that LaFollette dude who popped in a while ago. I don't know how energy intensive you want to be about it but the editors might arrange it whilst setting up the interviews. This would be great for politics, but even more useful if you want to get people focused on other topics/events etc - some of the Badgers coaches, etc; or a couple political scientists from the UW etc etc etc etc ... Sure such folks could post anywhere but in a 'Guest Foron' thread you could control the conduct.
Well happy 10th anyway.